Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-29

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 29

                 Tuesday, 1 December 1998

Today's Topics:

                       those neros
             Re: NARAS, people who say 'just'
     Phil Collins wanks fannies to Oranges and Lemons
                      Youth Culture
                       CC98 Review
                    Prints of Darkness
          Re: Modern Time Neros...And Much More!
                    Sister, I'm a Poet
               For Want of a Press Agent...
          This business about willys and wanking
                    Modern-Time Neros
                  spelling & lifestyles
                   blasting Transistors
                     Re: A Real Croc
                  Drum machines & Wires
               Quirk Is A Four Letter Word


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We come the wrong way.


Message-Id: <>>
From: Jonathan Monnickendam <>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 16:33:26 +0000
Subject: those neros

Nothing more or less than a big thanks to those who made it all happen,
especially the White Horse Hillbillies for a great flattening & scruggs
or is it bela flecking of  crocodile. Likewise the Ferndale Beer Gardens
for a great take of that old stadium rock fodder plodder whose name will
remain nameless. I am sure there are more which will grow over time.

Steven Cameron - you made it ! congrats

Back to TB - it is described as 'the best of the BBC sessions' ; can
anyone enlighten me as to the studio stuff which was left off (and why) ?


On the turntable - at my fathers place - capt beefheart

* ---------------------------------------------------------------
The views expressed are of the individual, and do not
necessarily reflect the views of The United Bank of Kuwait PLC.
* ---------------------------------------------------------------


Message-Id: <l03010d00b28713084e24@[]>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 13:28:59 -0500
From: Duncan Watt <>
Subject: Re: NARAS, people who say 'just'

the story up 'til now, soup fans:

Quoting from Richard Pedretti-Allen's post re: attending the NARAS(Grammy
people) meeting and how he got some on him:

>Typical interaction:
>A person walks up to me... "Hi, my name is Rocket. What's yours?"
>Richard: "I'm Richard."
>Rocket: "What do you do, Richard?"
>Richard: "I'm an independent producer."
>Rocket: "Are you into Drum-n-Bass, Hip-hop, Trip-hop, Urban or Rap?"
>Richard: "er.. No..."
>Rocket: "Hey, well, Richard, it was really good to meet you."
>Shakes my hand and is gone.  Total time: 10 seconds.
>If I couldn't do anything for them, they moved on fast, while still
>being enthusiastic and polite because... who knows...

...and his Conclusion:

>"The music business is such a slimy and superficial business that it
>amazes me that ANYONE can keep a straight face."


Why would any artist ask these people for help?

Because they have something artists want. Money.

Most artists believe they deserve to make as much money as, say, a plumber
does. Most of them are wrong.

Some artists are 'great artists'. I don't know how to define what a 'great
artist' is.

If you like an artist, they are a 'great artist', at least in your eyes.
Doubtful they'd be in mine. I hate everybody I don't love(art-ly-speaking,
I mean.  I of course love You.)

So everyone thinks THEIR 'great artist' should be making more money than
Hanson, blahblahblah, this is really sophomoric, but i had to get it out to
make my point, which is:

Making beautiful things doesn't mean you get your mortgage paid for life.
Making something that everyone likes gets you the pesos(See: "Collins,
Phil"). This is sad, but true.

Don't ask the government to get involved. I actually *liked* "Piss Jesus".
Kind of like the Boston Tea Party for atheists(of which I'm not one of,
either, eagle-eyes)

You need to sell your beautiful thing to expect money. Or have someone else
sell it for you. This of course, brings me to my final point:

What does this have to do with art? (Insert Your Opinion Here, but don't
bother sending it to me)

Once my dad and I had an argument about What Art Was. He claimed that the
Sistine Chapel, seen by no one, was not art, that art had to be accepted by
the masses, or at least by the people qualified to judge it, in order to be
art, until then it was just Potential Art. He of course, is an idiot, at
least when it comes to judging art. But he's a scary idiot, because he's
representing a VERY BEHEMOTH portion of the population of this world,
including the ones who don't care about art, the ones who were never
educated about it, the lemmings, the 'cool', the Television Populace, and
basically all the people who prefer their emotion pre-chewed...

Handy Music Business Facts:

Janet Jackson makes about $1.15 per unit sold(this from Billboard article
on independent labels), Ani Difranco about $4.25(from some 'alternative
business successes' TV interview I saw a few years back. DiFranco has her
own label and tours like a motherfucker (mixed metaphor, yes, but I do love
swearing in email).

Most people hear new music from one of two sources: Commercial Radio or
Commercial Television, both of who(m?)(ooh...a possible English Mistake!
could he be... a Heathen?) are pretty much completely pre-formatted. Songs
are a maximum of three-and-a-half minutes, most are under three or have
under-three versions. Television is a little better, esp. with cable,
public access, etc. cutting into the latest 'It's kind of like Friends, but
with only 5 people' sitcom profits. Still, lots of Janet and Celine, no

College radio is mostly a bunch of scared wanna-be's that respond to
potential criticism by playing things that are completely hideous and
pretending to really like them, while dancing to ABBA oldies and Kool And
The Gang in the back of their tiny little shrunken minds. Being cool is
really great, isn't it?

So on to MTV, the culture-dealer:

A video costs from $100,000-$1,000,000. You can't name a Top Ten hit in the
U.S. that doesn't have a video(okay, I'm generalizing, you might be able
to, but *I* can't think of one, so it *must* be true), so there's really no
such thing as a 'musician', they're really 'musician/video lip sync-ers'.
People want to SEE their favorites, and the camera really favors a certain
type, which brings me to...

...most videos include scantily-clad women, most women-artists go scanty in
their own videos, even so much that it's some twisted form of ultrafeminism
to show cleavage(see Paula Cole), as in "I'm making my own choice to show
tit here, mister", because it's tough to compete with Janet Jackson's image
unless you look like Janet Jackson...

Scanty as she goes, my favorite part is how MTV voted Garbage and Shirley
Manson into EIGHT music video nominations(who makes these nominations,
think...) but DIDN'T PLAY THE VIDEO ON MTV. Since MTV is the only place it
could have been shown, who... nominated.... it.... could there be a

There are no fat people in videos, unless they're making fun of themselves
in the video, like in the first Blues Traveler video where they get a guy
to mime the tracks while the band is playing behind the curtain, then the
curtain just happens to fall away, revealing the Real Blues Traveler with
the Fat Guy singing. Deftly poking gentle fun at their captors while still
COMPROMISING EVERYTHING so they could get onto MTV. It worked, though.

There are DEFINITELY no fat *women* in videos. AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE
not one fat woman has one good musical idea? What if Joni Mitchell (or if
you don't like her, insert your favorite not-fat woman musician here)was
fat? Am I supposed to tell a ten-year old student(I'm a piano teacher) that
she better start losing weight now? Or how about 'you'd be better in the
production side of things'?

Joni Mitchell won the POLAR FUCKING PEACE PRIZE a few years back. And, the
record she won it with was voted 'Best Pop Record' at the Grammys a few
years ago, as well. overAlanis Morrisette and Sting. Geffen proceeded to
offer her an obscenely low advance for her next record, of course. She
ended up dipping into her own pockets to finish the record.

I have trouble finding piano role models for my young girl students. They
simply don't see women playing the piano on television, of course unless
they're HUMPING THE FUCKING SEAT while they're playing(see "Amos,

"Rocket" is probably VERY GOOD at supplying music to the masses. The Big
Three music companies are absolutely incredible at it.

You can't eliminate cocaine use by killing the dealers, you'll have to
address the users' needs first.

Your Pal Duncan


Message-Id: <v04003a03b2884dab865a@[]>
From: Ken Herbst <>
Subject: Phil Collins wanks fannies to Oranges and Lemons
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 13:24:40 -0600

Um, could we get back to discussing music?


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 22:25:55 +0000
Subject: Youth Culture

Dear Chalkers,

Our friend Mandy wrote:

> 3. Mark, I think your Travels in Nihilion is my Complicated Game or
> All Along The Watchtower

You mean those are " difficult" songs for you or do you like 'm?
 i _love_ Travels In Nihilon. It's the pinnacle of XTC-ness in
both music and lyrics and IMHO one of their seminal tracks.
But i know some people can't stand it... let's just say it's an
acquired taste :)

> 4. Personally, I can't find any grasshopper on the Big Express
> cover.
It's in the 5 o'clock corner, bright green hanging upside down.
But you need a copy of the 'regular' LP sleeve to see it properly, i
can't find it on any of the circular sleeves i have and it's barely
visible on the cd booklets

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 16:30:36 -0500
From: Ben Gott/Loquacious Music <>
Organization: Loquacious Music
Subject: CC98 Review


First off: if you haven't already purchased "Chalkhills' Children '98," I
suggest you do so. Now. Contact Richard and send him a check. Here's why:
"CC98" is our new XTC, folks. For all our whining about the new album and
its imminent delay (and I include myself in this), we've forgotten that the
ability to recreate our most beloved XTC songs belongs to *us*. Because of
CC98, I've gone back to some songs I haven't listened to in months...

A lengthy (at times) review follows.

"Earn Enough for Us" -- You know, I've never considered the fact that an
American producer wasn't the best bet for "Skylarking." However, Peter
Fitzpatrick's marvelous version of "Earn..." captures more of the English
pastoral-ness than the original, while continuing to be a steady-rocker. In
my opinion, Peter's take is far superior to the original, and he should be
proud of it. I'm hoping that he will, eventually, re-record *all* of

"Knuckle Down" -- I started off not particularly fond of this rendition, but
it's quickly become one of my favourites on the tribute. There's something
about the nervous energy (and *great* drumming) that gives this song an
immediacy I didn't find in the original. To be sure, "Knuckle Down" is one
of my favourite songs on "English Settlement," but Patrick 'n' Friends have
superbly recreated it. Alternative top 40, here they come!

"Crocodile" -- Harrison sent me an e-mail with the subject "Hey, dorkbag..."
Hmmm. Anyway, the "hillbilly-ness" of this song gives it a great
tounge-in-cheekiness, creating a perfect showcase for its instrumentalists'
stellar talent. And, yes, there's a place in France...Great "Shaft" break
after John's solo...The song puts on steel-toed cowboy boots, and then
proceeds to kick your butt.

"Runaways" -- Kudos to Rick. "Runaways" is one of my 5 favourite XTC songs
of all time, and Rick has done a top-notch cover. (Is that a real Prophet
synth, by the way?) His vocal delivery is more mellow and flowing than
Colin's, which gives the song a great plodding feeling. His Colin-y backing
vocals are -- much like Rob Consentino's -- quite accurate, which leads me
to believe that, if Colin ever quit the band, Rick (or Rob) could don a wig
and fill his shoes quite easily.

"Beating of Hearts" -- In the early stages of CC98, I had requested "Beating
of Hearts," but I "let" Martin have it. I'm damn glad I did. He made a
goth-dance-melancholy tune out of it. It sounds like something that would've
been playing in the background of the vampire gathering in "Blade." It's
*really* good, and steps as far away from the pastoral as possible.

"Pearl" -- Someone said that this version, performed by our own John Relph,
reminded them of sitting on a porch during a late summer evening, sipping
lemonade. Bingo. It's a great song anyway (very innocent), and John's
version keeps the innocence. Good job, John! (Oh, and a good job moderating
the list, too...)

"Mayor of Simpleton" -- Rob, more vocals! Farther out in the mix! We want to
hear your voice! Mitch Froom would be steaming! This is a very sly,
well-programmed song with some great quasi-Colin backing vocals, and a
carbon-copy of Colin's bassline. Rob keeps the busy feeling of the original,
but adds his own mark. I like it a whole bunch.

"Real by Reel" -- I like the timpanis at the beginning, and the general
"keyboard" feel of the song. The bridge is marvelous, with every syllable
enunciated. The horns and little synth-birdy thing are also really nice
touches...I've gone back and re-discovered "Drums and Wires" after listening
to Kevin's take on it.

"Reign of Blows" -- I don't particularly care for the original version of
this song, but I give Steve and his (brother?) some big-time credit for
putting it on. It's a toughy -- and all those industrial guitar noises don't
help (damn, Andy!) However, they approached this very nicely -- and let 'er
rip! It sounds much less "Kleenex-in-your-ears" than the original version...

"Little Lighthouse" -- Such a strong, strong song...and this arrangement is
perfect (and perfectly different from the Dukes' version). Unfortunately,
Jason and his band (the aptly titled "Dukes of Dolores Street") left out my
favourite part of the song: "luuuuuuuvvvvvv sure keeps a bright
haaaaaaauuuuussss!" My only qualm, though...It's just damn good!

"Are You Receiving Me?" -- Bitchcakes! Where did I put those damned
wingtips? I hope that Bob and his fellas don't take this the wrong way, but
I think I heard this at the Marriott restaurant at the lounge in Bradley
International Airport...piped in over the P.A. system, on those wonderfully
tinny speakers.  The most original cover on the album, in my humble opinion.

"Books Are Burning" -- My best friend Bob is a first-generation American,
and both of his parents are Swiss. His dad (who is 71 years old) will very
often get drunk at parties, and will drag out his accordion. If Alwin didn't
sing, and if he played XTC, it would sound something like this -- and that's
an underhanded complement to Rex, Mark, Suzy, and Bill. Very well done -- I
think I'll play it for Bob and his parents the next time I see them!

"Complicated Game" -- It's QUIET. Then it gets LOUD. The thing I enjoy most
about this, actually, is Paul's vocals -- very effective. And, after knowing
the story behind the recording of this track, I appreciate (and enjoy) it
even more.  Scream out that last verse, Paul!

"Making Plans for Nigel" -- Utter rubbish.

"Dame Fortune" -- Yet again, Jason Garcia (aka TOP 40) has proven his
abilities.  The arrangement of this tune is killer, and the crowd noises add
a playfulness to it that makes the listening experience very
pleasurable. Good job on those crowd noises, Jon Cartwright!

"Another Satellite" -- I really like this rendition, especially Steve's
vocals -- dark without being deathly. It speaks to me.

"Terrorism" -- Banging on pots and pans...Singin' an XTC B-side...What could
be better? "Terrorism" has always been one of my favourite unreleased tunes,
and Mark reinterprets it much more ethereally than I expected him
to. Good. Very good.

"Travels in Nihilon" -- Put this together with Martin Bell's "Beating of
Hearts," and you have the beginning of the "XTC Goth Sampler." I think I can
hear Spanky shedding in the background.

So, my conclusions? Get it. Got(t) it? Good.

(Ira, should I make the dental comment now? Ah, well. Never mind.)


   Benjamin Gott :: Bowdoin College :: Brunswick, Maine 04011
  ICQ 7737594 :: :: (207) 721-5513
All of my dreams just fall like rain / All upon a downtown train.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:58:09 +0000
From: chris <>
Subject: Prints of Darkness

In message <>, writes
>  XTC-Phil Collins link: Hugh Padgham, producer of English Settlement, also
>produced some of Genesis' 80's material(forget which album, I wasn't
>particularly interested by that point)and I believe he's responsible for
>some of Collins' solo material as well.

Genesis and Invisible Touch in case anyones anal enough to want to know
(oh no, cut my own throat again). Oh, and Foul Phil's first four
archives of misery. I swear, I only like Genesis for Tony Banks.
chris II


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 17:44:39 -0400
From: Harrison Sherwood <>
Organization: Intermetrics, Inc.
Subject: *Plonk*

> From: Erich Walther <>
> Subject: Synchronicity

> Harrison in #26: having a bad day?

Why, yes, Erich, a rather stonkingly bad day, thank you for asking. To my
eternal shame, my sense of humor deserted me and I singled out one particular
irritant and made her stand in for all the others, both on-list and -off, and
for this I apologize to Catherine Piazolla and to the group. In fairness, I
should have simply bade you _all_ to eat me.

> Wishing for an acronym-free world,
> Erich in Ottawa

I join you in your admirable quest, and invite you to band together with our
brothers and sisters around the globe who have formed Wishing for an
Acronym-Free World, or WAFW (pronounced "wa-foo").

> From: Michael Versaci <>
> Subject: The Persistence Of Andy

[Replying to the grumpy old poo Simon Deane, who is hereby invited to Eat Me
twice. Just one question burns to be asked at this point, Si...why on *earth*
do you care? Strikes me that if it's so fucking painful for you to read
something I've written, you'd spare yourself the agony and smack the Page Down
key, like anybody with an ounce of sense.]

> To the truly enlightened (fire away!), Andy Partridge IS making serious
> music, deserving of literate and lively commentary.

Bra-stonking-VO, Mike. And if not here, then where?

Actually, this exchange with Old Diaper-Rash does crystallize a very
important aspect of music, that minds far more formidable than ours have
grappled with.  (I'll refrain from naming them, lest friend Simon cry havoc
and unleash the bunny rabbits of war, but one of 'em had a walrus moustache
to die for--and a case of syphilis to die _from_.) The question is simply,
What the hell is music for? Is it for the head or for the heart? Is it for
"fun and dancing and having a laugh" or is it for getting all frowny and
thoughtful and serious and analytical? Does it speak to the cerebral cortex
or the wee-wee?

The answer, of course, is Yes.

The tricky part's satisfying 'em both at the same time. Can be done, though,
bereave it or not--and here's how: Put on an XTC record.

Stonkingly great post, Mike.

> From: Bob Estus <>
> Subject: up, and places between, down


> Andy flop-flips,  juxtaposes objects, includes
> synesthetic references to stir up a predictable line in hopes of
> tripping up the listener (ie. I fell down to heaven, How coloured the
> flowers all smelled). Having a sweet tooth for psychedelica has produced
> the Dukes phenomenon but also probably accounts for a penchant for the
> simple reversal or match-miss either to startle or disorient the viewer.

Do you know, I think we're dangerously close to tripping over the Key to the
Partridge Sense of Humor, which depends quite a lot on exactly these
surprising surrealist juxtapositions for its (devastating) effect. I
remember reading an article from the late Seventies somewhere in the
Chalkhills archives, Andy in the touring van, riffing, conjuring up the
image of helicopters being called in to lift the Kremlin so they could dust
underneath it.... On the other hand, he's pretty good at plain old
razor-sharp sarcasm.  My bro just finished reading a bio of Sting, in which
the heavy Police/XTC touring days were described. Sting asked Andy to
suggest some names for the new Police album that would become Zenyatta
Mondatta. Andy's highly obsequious suggestions: 1) More of the Same-o, and
2) Get Yer Yo-Yo's Out.

> Helicopter: She got to be obscene to be obheard

...Stolen, one suspects, from John Lennon's "Little girls should be obscene
and not heard," but a humdinger nevertheless.

> On the phrase "Still I'm getting
> higherrrrrrrrrh" in _Chalkhills and Children_ I've always had the
> impression Andy was approximating the gas burner on a balloon.

I don't know.... This might be getting a little too arty, Bob, a little too
*syncretic.* I see Simon's eyebrows becoming even more closely knit than
usual, forehead furrowing painfully, as he runs your proposition through his
Ronco Desktop Wank-o-Meter<tm>'ve passed the Street Cred
benchmark...survived the rigorous Pomp Gauge...and ba-BING you're OK on the
ClapTrap-a-tron...*whew*! That was the one I was _sure_ he was going to get
you on. Dodged a bullet, there, Bob!

Harrison "Can I keep him, Mom? Can I? Can I?" Sherwood


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 17:54:13 -0500
From: Robert Cosentino <>
Organization: Pink Palace Productions
Subject: Re: Modern Time Neros...And Much More!

Close! It's was actually a 12 string guitar sound from my Ensoniq TS10,
I guess it sounds a little harpsichordish, I never really noticed.
Rob Cosentino

> - Mayor Of Simpleton:  Another faithful cover version,
>   Robert Cosentino delivers sparkling production and singing to this
>   modern pop classic...listen for that harpsichord standing in for the
>   original's twelve-string guitar!


From: "Wesley Hanks" <>
Subject: Sister, I'm a Poet
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:03:59 -0800
Message-ID: <000001be1cce$dc142120$e51c1d26@wes>

Sweet Gentle Children,

Clipped the following editorial reply letter from our favorite resident
poet, Martin Newell:

"The Independent (London), November 3, 1998

HEADLINE: Right of Reply: Martin Newell; The Independent's poet replies to
Ruth Padel's argument that pop lyrics cannot be poetry

    I CAN'T agree with Ruth Padel's argument that pop lyrics cannot be
poetry. The best pop lyrics in fact are poetry - whether Cheltenham Literary
Festival has decreed them so or not.

Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, XTC, Jim Morrison, The Smiths and many other
artists from the past 40 years have all come up with stuff that works both
on page and on stage. It is characteristically modest of Ian Dury to deny
that his own lyrics are poetry, but the artist, at least in this case,
should be the last person to judge his own work since he has written some of
the grittiest and most moving pop poetry of the last 20 years.

Poetry and pop lyrics are not necessarily brother and sister, it is true.
They are, however, very close cousins. Dylan is often the first artist to be
brought up in the poetry vs pop lyrics debate, but he's a bad example since
mostly his lyrics don't communicate well on the page. Far better to apply
the argument to some of the aforementioned artists or even to
"Awopbopaloobopawopbamboom!", itself a poem from Little Richard's "Tutti
Frutti". The only rule to apply to poetry, surely, is that if the reader or
listener says it's poetry then that's what it is.

The poetry pundits are far too precious about what does or does not
constitute poetry. Having been both a songwriter and a poet I would say that
both can creep into each other's beds on occasion. What some poets may look
upon as the constriction of writing to a strict tune should be regarded as a
cage to be brilliant in, which is good for the discipline of both jobs.

Immortality will be conferred only upon those stanzas and lyrics that etch
their way into the public's affections via truth, beauty or humour. Then the
poetry vs pop lyrics debate becomes irrelevant."

Discuss in groups of four, and be prepared to share your thoughts with the
class in the last 30 minutes.

Iambically Yours,


From: "Wesley Hanks" <>
Subject: For Want of a Press Agent...
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:15:39 -0800
Message-ID: <000101be1cd0$7d18b8a0$e51c1d26@wes>

A sampling of the recent US press regarding the release of TB:

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

For the Holidays: Boxed Sets

One of the staples of the holiday consumer binge, boxed sets of CDs devoted
to a particular artist or style of music make for impressive "oooohs" and
"ahhhhs" once the gift-wrapping comes off. Record companies love them
because the collections usually recycle previously released --- or, at
least, previously paid for --- recordings, and can sometimes generate a
fresh burst of interest in their subject. Fans love them because, well, what
fan wouldn't want a snazzily packaged survey of a favorite rock singer or
jazz guitarist, with a small novel's worth of critical notes and interviews,
and the songs remastered with the latest digital gewgaws? Here's a glance at
a batch of recent boxed set releases, with tips about what makes each
unique(or not):

POP "Transistor Blast" XTC. TVT. 51 tracks. (four CDs). Grade: B- Retail
price: $ 44.99 Bonus factor: Many previously unreleased performances.

A gathering of live recordings from a band that was never fond of performing
live might seem an iffy proposition. Two of these discs are concert
recordings from 1978-79 and a powerful set at London's Hammersmith Palais in
December 1980, when the band's pop confections still had a punky edge. After
calling a halt to roadwork in 1982, the trio still made live-in-the-studio
appearances on radio, including John Peel's popular BBC show. The other two
discs document those sessions from 1977-89. Entertaining, if less than
essential. --- Shane Harrison Soundline number: 308
James Sullivan, Chronicle Staff Writer
The San Francisco Chronicle NOVEMBER 27, 1998, FRIDAY,

THREE STARS XTC, Transistor Blast, TVT, $49.97 (four CDs)

Once an edgy punk band with mere glimmers of artistic pretension, the
British band XTC has evolved over the years into a leading proponent of
orchestrated pop. This set (available Monday ) revisits the band's rawer
heyday, composed mostly of live-at-the-BBC sessions. A complete 1980
Hammersmith Palais performance will delight fans who rue Andy Partridge's
long-standing aversion to touring.

USA TODAY, November 27, 1998
 Edna Gundersen
November 27, 1998, Friday, FINAL EDITION
XTC, Transistor Blast (TVT, four CDs, $ 44.99). The
English new-wave outfit surveys its career from its formation in 1977 to
1989. Bandleader Andy Partridge assembled the 52 tracks, packaged to
resemble a transistor radio. Tunes such as Dance Band and This World Over
are culled from concerts and BBC vaults. Due Dec. 1, this first XTC release
since 1992's Nonsuch
precedes two studio albums expected next year.

Cox News Service

November 25, 1998

For the holidays: Boxed Sets

BYLINE: Steve Dollar, Shane Harrison, Doug Hamilton, Bo Emerson Russ
DeVault, and Kathy Janich

Here's a glance at a batch of recent boxed set releases, with tips about
what makes each unique (or not):


"Transistor Blast"

XTC. TVT. 51 tracks. (four CDs).

Grade: B-

Retail price: $44.99

Bonus factor: Many previously unreleased performances.

A gathering of live recordings from a band that was never fond of performing
live might seem an iffy proposition. Two of these discs are concert
recordings from 1978-79 and a powerful set at London's Hammersmith Palais in
December 1980, when the band's pop confections still had a punky edge. After
calling a halt to roadwork in 1982, the trio still made live-in- the-studio
appearances on radio, including John Peel's popular BBC show. The other two
discs document those sessions from 1977-89. Entertaining, if less than

CC98 est muy bien!!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:20:27 -0800 (PST)
From: Cheryl <>
Subject: This business about willys and wanking

Hey there Chalkfriends,

It has never been so appearant than from these last
few digest how male dominated this list is!

Can you men stop thinking about your willies and
focus on XTC....PLEASE! Trainspotting penis
references?! I am at a lose for words.

Terminally female,


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:41:05 -0400
From: Brian <>
Subject: Wanker


There seem to be some people on this list who feel that every post that
comes into their e-mailbox, by God, had BETTER have content that they're
interested in, or there's gonna be trouble...!
Case in point, the latest 'wanker' thread. Some people are complainin'
up a storm... as if all of the different people and per sonalities on
this list are all gonna be on the same channel.

Kee-yah, right!

I've noticed the gleeful abandon and participation this subject has
caused on this list, and I say, "Ah, what the hell!" (I'm not a prude,
either, so I REALLY don't care what gets discussed).
Do go get this list in digest form, like I do, and then when it comes
in, you have a whole lot of other posts along with the tripe to go look
at so that you can be satisfied.

* Digital & traditional illustration/animation
* Caricaturist-for-hire
* RENDERMAN ~ One-Man Band Ordinaire



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 22:23:42 -0500
From: richard leighton <>
Subject: Modern-Time Neros

First I'd like to thank those who enjoyed and posted about my
contribution to CC'98(Runaways). I had done the song well before the
announcement of the CC'98. As a kid a always enjoyed taking old radios
apart and things like that and so it is with XTC songs. I love to take
them apart and see what makes them tick.

The reason I picked Runaways was because I like to see Colin get a
little of his due. I've done XTC songs from every part of their career
so I've done many of Andy's songs as well. They have different but
subtle styles of writing and demo-ing their songs is just a small way
that I can actually get into the head of the writer and players.

Finally a little tech stuff. The guitar was a Gibson 335 with a coil tap
on the front pick-up for a little thinner sound. The bass a Fender
Musicmaster, keyboard a Casio CZ 1000, (no good piano sound hence the
synth middle riff and electric piano ending) and the Alesis SR 16 to
generate the high hat and kick. The only effect used was a Peavey Ultra
Verb for some delay and reverb. It was recorded on a Sony MDM-X4.

And of course huge thanks to Mr. Pedretti-Allen for enabling others to
hear what I enjoy doing for fun.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 23:14:45 -0500
From: David Oh <>
Subject: spelling & lifestyles

>Subject: apple venus
>1) David Oh- if you can type something like-XTC is the gr8est- then what I
>want to know, man is Y not type David O ?
>                eddie.

1stly, eddie, i did not "type something like-XTC is the gr8est-", but i do
use shortcuts when i type. it saves wear & tear on me finger tips. i am
(proudly, i might add) a very-much-less-than-mediocre guitar player. typing
after playing hurts sometimes... besides, i'm really, really lazy, 2!
davidoh is my cybername, not my real name. the 'o' & the 'h' r me middle &
last initials. does this help? i'm also known as 'stick', but i won't say
exactly why...
>Subject: Modern Time Neros...And Much More!
>My personal life is none of your business, bub.  8^)  No, but seriously,
>KC is my other most favorite group.
>-Bob Crain

i _was_ refering 2 the album 'discipline', not your hobbies. kc is great
band, i've seen 'em twice, 1981 & 1995.

tha-that's all, folks!!!

davidoh, the person otherwise known as stick


Message-ID: <>
From: Martin & Jamie Monkman <>
Subject: blasting Transistors
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 20:22:22 -0800

Fellow "ardent fans and collectors",
There's a review of Transistor Blast at The Wall Of Sound:

I noted that XTC is now an "alternative" band, quite a feat considering that
the bulk of the album was recorded before the term was ever applied to a
style of rock music.  What ever happened to "new wave"?


Our homepage:


From: nedrise@MNSi.Net
Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 11:59:25 -0400
Subject: Re: A Real Croc

Hi Folks

Last issue Jason was saying:

>  ?????  Hard to understand.  "Crocodile" comes very close to being the
>  perfect electric pop song.  Interesting key changes, flawless melodies,

Well Jason, I checked out the song again, listening for the things you
mentioned.  Yeah, Dave's solo is excellent, but that's a given.  I never
noticed the arpegiating before, that is cool.  But there's too many cute
sound effects - they just get tiring.  Also I find the drumming a little
generic (like other songs on Nonsuch), and the melody on the
line "But he's your pet now...",  that goofy old pseudo-Arabian
tune, is way annoying.  Get that outta there and maybe it's decent.

I agree with you on "The Disapointed" - real nice song. Andy uses the
the old descending chord pattern very nicely.  Though again
the drumming is a bit on the lifeless side.  Maybe Andy requested it
that way, to reflect the 'break-up of marriage' motif that runs through
Disapointed, Crocodile, Ugly Underneath, Dear Madam Barnum(?).

Speaking of Colin's great bass playing, how about those fills he puts
in "Holly Up On Poppy".  Downright Tchaikovskian.  Just stunning.

That's what I'm talkin' about.

Michael Stone
Windsor, Ontario


From: (Nanette & Phil Smith)
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 23:13:55 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Drum machines & Wires
Message-ID: <>

Count me in as one of those who reads Chalkhills regularly, but has
never posted...

My spin on the O & L Love-Hate relationship: first of all, O & L was my
first XTC album and, yes, it's one of my favorites...but I understand
completely those fans who think its one of the worst.

Two common complaints I've heard about it are: 1.) too overproduced, and
2.) 'sounds like a drum machine, not a real drummer.' Hopefully I'm not
the only one out here who takes 'overproduced' as a compliment - I love
albums where every track is crowded with extra instruments, layered
vocals, strange sound effects, etc. Some of my all-time fav albums are
most definitely overproduced: Elvis Costello's "Spike," Tears for Fears'
"The Seeds of Love," Thomas Dolby's "Astronauts & Heretics," Jellyfish's
"Spilt Milk," etc.  Everytime I listen to O & L, I hear something new -
usually a background vocal buried in the mix. (You can imagine that
"Nonsuch" was a big disappointment for me!)

As for the 'drum machine' complaint, it's hard to argue. O & L is one of
those albums that sounds as if it were written to drum machine patterns,
& then fleshed out with a real drummer. In this case, an EXCELLENT
drummer. (There are exceptions on the album - "Chalkhills & Children"
being the most obvious.)

More than anything else, this is what concerns me for the future of my
enjoyment of XTC. Frankly, I love live drums! And I'm enthusiastically
looking forward to Prairie Prince (another great drummer) on the new
album(s). It's just that other bands which write songs to drum machines
have very quickly come to bore me (the example that comes to mind is
post-Duke Genesis.) I haven't heard the 'Apple Venus' demos, but I'm
hoping for the XTC I hear in "Wrapped in Grey," "Rook," or "Humble
Daisy," rather than "Omnibus," or "War Dance."

Be easy on me, it's my first post.

- Phil


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 10:22:34 +0000
From: Dominic Lawson <>
Subject: Quirk Is A Four Letter Word

>>Surely that's one of the reasons why most of us love this group - because
>>they're not smug. 

You're totally 100% correctimundo, my friend. One of the best things about
XTC - and there's plenty to choose from - is the complete lack of artifice,
pseudo-intellectualism and meaningless cack masquerading as "depth" which
many bands suffer from. The honesty, warmth and wit of Andy & Colin's
lyrics, and the refreshing exuberance of their many great melodies, have
always set them apart from the wobbling, glutinous excesses and
lowest-common-denomiwhatsit dribblings of most mainstream pop music. I
suppose that one of the few benefits of having been consistently and
disgracefully ignored by the British music press, particularly during the
period when XTC should, by rights, have been scoring number one hits on a
regular basis, is that at least the band were able to release their records
without having the whole process spoiled by the NME's (New Musical Express)
hideous 6th-form debating society analyses. Making music because THAT'S WHAT
YOU DO rather than because you want to create some contrived mystique and/or
appear "radical" or "cutting edge" or, spew, "post-modern" seems to be a
good way to ensure that your records are at least grounded in the real world
and not some Time Out-reading, let's-alienate-the-dimwits world of

...which is odd really, when you consider that XTC were largely
disassociated from the whole Punkular Rock scene in the mid to late 70s
because they were deemed "too clever". On one level it's not an unreasonable
accusation. After all, if you compare "Scissor Man" to "Dead Cities" by The
Exploited, it's immediately apparent that XTC have always had an elegance
and subtlety, not to mention imagination, which would never have sat
comfortably amidst all that phlegm and the limitations of a
three-chords-only format. Don't get me wrong, I love Discharge and the
Ramones, but they were never meant to be anything other than one-dimensional
- musically, at least. However, is it not the beautiful simplicity of XTC's
early records which makes them so undeniably appealing? Something like
"X-Wires" or "Red" could hardly be considered complex, and although there
was plenty on, say, "White Music" to suggest a glittering future, I would be
suspicious of anyone claiming to have anticipated the delights of "English
Settlement" or "The Big Express" purely on the basis that "Statue Of
Liberty" had a decidedly un-punk tune.

Meanwhile, if you'll allow me to digress (and let's face it, there's knob
all you can do about it), it occurred to me that this is a familiar
phenomenon, i.e. the precarious straddling of the fine line between
"inventive" and "clever". I'm not sure why it should be so terrible to be
"clever", especially since education is largely considered a good idea by
most of us, but the British music press (and possibly music writers
elsewhere too) have always had a measure of contempt for any artists or band
who dares to be either defiantly unfashionable, or wilfully untouched by
currently accepted rules on what is or isn't musically "cool". Plenty of
enormously talented people have been slapped around the knackers for such
crimes, banished to the box marked "art-wank" and left to die. XTC have got
off fairly lightly in this respect, presumably because you'd have to be a
stone-deaf imbecile to fail to acknowledge that Andy & Colin's songs are
often EVERYTHING that pop music should be, but there are others who have
suffered, usually at the hands of the word "quirky"...

..Speaking as someone who plays in an unashamedly "quirky" band (called No
Legs - we are, in fact, the world's only quirkcore band) I have to admit to
feeling some sort of kinship with these poor sods. Many of my favourite
bands are included here; Bog Shed, Stump, John Zorn, Zappa, Boredoms, Devo,
Foetus, Mr Bungle and most of all, my favourite band in the whole wide etc,
Cardiacs. They've all been either ignored or relentless pilloried in the two
British music weeklies at some time or another, usually on the basis that
what they were doing was somehow contrived and/or designed solely to
irritate and alienate. This is utter bollocks, as I'm sure you realise, and
is just another of the NME's feeble campaigns against anything that they
didn't help to make popular. Cardiacs are a perfect case in point. Here is a
band whose chief songwriter, Tim Smith, is a genius of terrifying
proportions. Every one of the Cardiacs four official studio albums makes
"Sgt Pepper" sound like the work of retards, with songs of such astonishing
beauty that I have regularly been reduced to a sobbing heap of hair and
denim. I think we're all agreed that Andy Partridge writes songs that make
most other songwriters look like twats, but I would rate Smith even
higher. These are tunes that will make a hammock of your heartstrings, but
have the NME ever acknowledged this? Have they cock. Instead we get the
witless suggestion that Cardiacs are a bunch of middle-class art students,
hell-bent on being as clever and clever-clever (like clever, only on some
bizarre meta-level that only music journalists understand) as possible.
Nonsense. Many of the band's songs are admittedly quite deranged, with lots
of stops and starts, rhythmic and melodic red herrings and a definite air of
the unhinged, but as with XTC, these are records which become essential to
one's day-to-day existence, an indispensable soundtrack to many of life's
highest and lowest points. Just check out a song called "The Whole World
Window" and get the Kleenex primed for action. No, nothing to do with
wanking on this occasion.

Nope, it's all to do with FEAR OF THE QUIRK. Ever since it became
fashionable to hate Frank Zappa - a phenomenon which the old goat probably
enjoyed rather a lot - THE QUIRK has been the source of much terror among
British indie-types. Oh no, an unconventional time signature.  Oh Jesus help
us, a slightly unusual chord. Call the police, it's a lyric that doesn't
immediately make sense. You get the general idea.

But there's no need to be afraid. Embrace the quirk. Learn to love the
quirk. The quirk will keep you warm when there's only Level 42 and The Corrs
for company. Without the quirk there is no "X-Wires", no "Train Running Low
On Soul Coal" and certainly no guitar solo on "Complicated Game". The quirk
is there for all of us. Splendid.

And look, all that text and not a single snot-fest!



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-29

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